How To Cope With An Early Menopause

19/01/2017 15:13

You don't expect to go through the menopause in your 30s. No, you expect to have at least a decade or so before you even need to think about it. Yet that's exactly what happened to me this year....

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In January when I was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer I was told that my chemotherapy, which started in the following few weeks, would 'likely' cause an early menopause and infertility.

There was brief discussion around harvesting eggs followed by the news that this wasn't really a sensible option for me. Phrases like 'not enough time' and 'we need to start treatment asap' filled the room and it became clear that parenthood was no longer an option.

Despite what many people think, this wasn't completely devastating. Would I have liked kids? Yes of course. But, let's be honest, I had more important things to worry about! Reflecting now, almost 11 months later, and I'm still not upset by chemotherapy (and surgery) inducing my early infertility. I mean it takes all the ifs, buts and maybes women (and couples face) off of the agenda. I know I can't have children and so also know I can focus my attention on other things to do with my time - something I'm sure avid readers will agree I've been doing plenty off...

But anyway, I digress from the point, this post is meant to be about early menopause, and that's more than just infertility... (which, incidentally, I've written about in a previous post)...

As predicted, chemotherapy did start to put me through the menopause (hence the associated infertility I mention) and with it the forgetfulness, hot flushes, mood swings and night sweats we've all heard of. At first it wasn't that bad. I mean I was kind of distracted by chemotherapy side affects anyway so it was hard to distinguish them from one another...

The side affects after my surgery were another story...

I remember the surgeon warning my husband before surgery that a hysterectomy would mean I would wake up with no hormones. No more going through the menapause with gentle ease (even if a few decades early). No, now I'd wake from theatre slap bang in the middle of it and all whilst recovering from massive surgery. Oh joy - lucky me! The surgeon joked to my husband that I'd be moody, sore and sleep deprived and that he best be super nice to me.

"Do I have to visit?", my husband joked.

As it happened, it wasn't that bad in the first weeks post surgery. My temperature was up and down and I was constantly switching between an ice pillow and a heated pad but, reflecting now, I'm not sure if this was the sudden lack of hormones or the ragging infection in my liver that was discovered shortly after.

My husband, of course, may reflect differently but this is my story and I'm sticking to it...

Now, however, it's a few months since surgery and I can identify what are menopause symptoms and what are treatment symptoms. And, I'm going to be super honest with you now.

Are you ready?

It's not that bad!

Yes, when I have a hot flush I feel like I could happily rip my own flesh off just to get some relief from the ragging heat coursing through my body AND I am so forgetful I have on more than one occasion found I've put things in random places - like the time I put salad in the drawer under the sink.

BUT that is really the worst of it.

Other than that though, I have nothing to report in terms of symptoms! Again, I may have symptoms that I think are treatment related (like mood swings) but I don't think so...

I get asked a lot if I can take HRT and the answer is a simple no. This is because my cancer was hormone dependent so the last thing we want to do is fill my body with chemical hormones. Cue happy cancer!

Despite the forgetfulness, hot flushes and infertility I don't mind the menopause. In fact I'm grateful for it. Hold on... let me explain.

As with my colostomy bag, my hysterectomy is a reminder of how lucky I am to have recieived life saving surgery and if given the choice would you honestly choose cancer being left in your body over the possibility of children and/or no hot flushes? It's not really much of a decision is it?

Love and light, Fi xxx

You can read more about Fi Munro on her website and public Facebook page

She is also on twitter, instagram and youtube.

She is currently writing a book about holistic health and healing due for release in April 2017.

© FKMunro.com 2017

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